The agency landscape is ever-changing, but recently we’ve been seeing agencies increasingly falling into one of two camps; larger traditional, full-service agencies, and the smaller specialists.
Working in a specific industry or discipline, the smaller agencies are experts in what they do, rather than having general knowledge across the board.
But whether you’re a full-service giant or a specialist minnow, agencies need to start thinking about how to work smarter and more collaboratively with other agencies, providers, and platforms.
Collaboration is key
But why? It’s quite simple.
As more and more agencies enter the market, competition becomes harder. And, with agencies focusing on specific areas, they’re able to offer a much better service in that particular field.
However, this doesn’t come without its pitfalls. If you only provide one service, regardless of how good it is or how knowledgeable your team is, you run the risk of losing out on potential business.
Therefore, it’s easy to see the need to build mutually-supportive networks with specialists in other areas, such as PPC and SEO to ensure clients are properly serviced.
The changing ecommerce sector
As the ecommerce sector matures, retailer demands are becoming more sophisticated. You need to ensure your agency is offering the best solution to meet those needs. This doesn’t just affect smaller agencies either; we’re talking to you big guns too.
Because of this, if you’re providing ecommerce services to clients you’ll soon see an increased need for support. And, if you’re failing to adopt a collaborative approach, or resisting working with newer platforms, this could result in future failure to your clients.
Know your tech
While ecommerce may feel like it’s been around for a very long time, in reality, it’s only been 20 years or so. Still in its infancy, it’s constantly evolving.
Therefore, you need to ensure you’re aware of the best tech available, and able to use it effectively. If not, your client could run into issues similar to the ones many traditional retailers did when they failed to adopt an ecommerce strategy early on; lost sales.
Recently, both John Lewis and Boots announced plans to shift much of their business online following the Covid-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, Primark, one of the UK's biggest and most popular retailers saw revenues dip by 75 percent between March and June during the coronavirus lockdown. This cost the retailer around £800 million, which was due to them purely selling in-store, and not online.
As you can see, agencies need to stay ahead of the game when it comes to providing clients with the best ecommerce solutions.
One area that’s essential to your success as an agency is the support you get from the solutions you choose.
Your agency needs to ensure it is offering the best solution, that is capable of being flexible and meeting the increasingly sophisticated demands of retailers, but with this increased level of complexity comes an increased need for good support.
A provider who can’t back up their offering with support risks damaging both your relationship with your client and your wider reputation.
To provide some context, these are some of the ways we support Aero partner agencies, so that they can get the most out of the platform:
Access to documentation
Choosing to go open-code
Ongoing in-person and remote training
Fast and personal troubleshooting (we don’t even operate a ticketing system)
Support in finding leads and when pitching
Look at the above list and ask yourself; ‘are my current suppliers supporting my agency’s success?’
Future of platform
Legacy platforms have enjoyed success for a reason — they work. Or have done so until now.
While there may be no issues at the moment, there could be in years to come. A number of recent events involving legacy platforms have caused alarm among agencies and shaken the foundations of the long-held trust, while exposing how reliant agencies are on those platforms;
Shopify’s decision to remove the Mailchimp integration from the Shopify marketplace as a result of a disagreement over Shopify’s Ts and Cs.
Shopify’s move into fulfilment, raising the question of whether retailers will be penalised for not using the platform’s delivery solution in the future.
Magento’s sale to Adobe and the removal of support for older versions of the platform.
In light of these and other events, it makes sense for agencies to align themselves with platforms that have a similar focus on collaboration, support and providing the best service to the retailer.
With the agency landscape continuing to change, the full-service agency may look like it’s being replaced by specialist ones, however, agencies will still need to provide full services to clients.
Therefore, there’s now a dual need to be both an expert and to provide a full service to clients, to ensure you don’t lose them. This is what makes collaboration so important, and why it will become more and more important as we move into the future.
This is why it’s important you make connections with others who can provide the services you can’t, without friction, to guarantee the best service. It could also open up the opportunity to meet potential new clients further down the line who require your expertise.
Looking to the future
At Aero, we want to help agencies prepare for the future of ecommerce by building longstanding and supportive relationships through collaboration. If you like the sound of that and want to find out more, get in touch today.